Trading on its reputation for sustainable, authentic, and adventurous travel, the National Geographic Society has launched National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, which it describes as "a collection of boutique hotels in extraordinary places around the world with a demonstrated commitment to sustainability, authenticity, and excellence," it announced yesterday.
Currently numbering 24 properties on six continents, the collection was selected through a rigorous evaluation process based on the following three criteria:
• The Property: The design and character are unique and authentic, and the property provides guests with a true sense of place by celebrating the surrounding landscape and cultural heritage.
• Guest Experience and Quality of Service: Guests are offered top-quality service and exceptional and inspiring experiences, from activities that enable them to engage with local people to wildlife encounters with seasoned naturalists.
• Sustainable Tourism Best Practices: The property demonstrates a commitment to conservation and green operations; it actively supports the protection of cultural heritage; and it provides tangible benefits to local communities.
"By creating this carefully curated group of hotels, lodges, and retreats that meet internationally recognized sustainable tourism criteria while providing top-notch guest experiences, National Geographic opens a new chapter in the power of travel to protect our planet," said Costas Christ, editor at large for National Geographic Traveler magazine, who coordinated an international team to inspect each of the lodges. "Travelers can feel confident when they stay in one of these lodges that they are helping to safeguard cultural and natural treasures in some of the world's most incredible places."
Unique Lodges properties range from thatched bungalows in the coastal jungles of Costa Rica to luxury tented suites overlooking Ayers Rock in the Australian Outback. Many have devised their own renewable energy solutions, according to National Geographic, and all prioritize locally sourced food while providing economic and social benefits to the local community.
"The National Geographic brand is universally recognized for its commitment to exploring and protecting the planet, so we are uniquely positioned to unite and promote these exceptional properties and to set a new standard for tourism," said Lynn Cutter, National Geographic's executive vice president for travel and licensing. "These lodges share the Society's vision of preserving the planet for future generations and they demonstrate that sustainability and a world-class guest experience can go hand-in-hand."
Cutter added that National Geographic is happy to work with meeting planners to craft private expeditions of the lodges, which are "ideal for small groups or incentive trips."